Notes & Quotes: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear

May 29, 2019

Thomas Semik II, (pictured above left) is originally from Detroit. He joined AJ Foyt Racing in 2009 as a mechanic. He was named crew chief of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet (based in Texas) in the middle of the 2017 season. We asked him a few questions…

 

How did you get involved in racing? Where did it start for you? 

I was first exposed to racing as a fan watching the Formula 1 Detroit Grand Prix in the '80s.  After graduating from high school, I enrolled in the Jim Russell British Motor Racing School at Donington Park, England.  To offset racing expenses and gain more "seat time", I signed up for a Mechanics Training Program (MTP) in California where i learned how to work on the race cars that I raced.  Years later, realizing that I didn't have the money or the talent, I turned to the mechanics side of motorsports and worked my way up through the lower formulas to current day Indy car. 

 

What does your job as a crew chief entail? 

Basically I'm the communication link between management/engineering and the crew.  I provide the mechanics with the info and direction needed to make things run efficiently - at least that the plan. 

 

What do you do on race day? 

During pit stops, I'll change the outside front tire in about 5 seconds and execute front wing adjustments if necessary.  Once the pit service is complete and safe, I'll send the car.

 

How long have you been a mechanic and then a crew chief?

Started wrenching full time in 1999. First starting working in ChampCar/IndyCar in 2005. In fact, my first ChampCar event, I worked on a third car entry for Walker Racing in Australia, driven by Will Power, which happened to be his first ChampCar start. I've been with Foyt Rac